As the Internet continues to expand its reach into every facet of our daily lives, so too does the speed with which we want to connect to it. One recent analysis confirms this trend, revealing that both Internet reach and connection speeds are on an upward trend around the world.
Akamai Technologies is a Massachusetts-based provider of cloud platforms. Recently, Akamai released its fourth-quarter 2012 “State of the Internet” report, which analyzes data on Internet usage gathered from traffic through the company’s platforms.

Akamai reveals that Internet usage is expanding at a meteoric pace. According to the report, nearly 700 million unique IP addresses from 240 countries and regions came online in the fourth quarter of last year. That is an increase of 13 percent from the same quarter the year before. Brazil, Italy and China had some of the highest rates of growth in this category, with year-over-year increases of 33 percent, 21 percent and 19 percent, respectively. The United States saw a growth rate of 1.7 percent.

As the number of users increased, so did their connection speed. According to the report, the global average connection speed and the global average peak connection speed grew by 25 percent and 35 percent, respectively. Akamai sees average peak connection speeds as a better measurement of Internet connection capacity. On both average and average peak measurements, the United States showed strong growth of 28 percent and 25 percent, respectively.

Within the United States, connection speed growth showed some interesting patterns. In particular, Akamai notes that Kansas measured a whopping 89 percent annual increase in average peak connection speed. The company suggests this may be attributable to the deployment of Google’s ultra-high-speed fiber service in Kansas City. Despite not being adopted by a significant number of users, the service’s mere presence may have prompted competitors to boost connection speeds, driving up the average.

Besides Kansas, Wyoming and New Jersey saw an annual increase in average peak connection speeds of 51 percent and 40 percent, respectively.